Industrial safety specialist Castell has adopted an innovative manufacturing process to improve efficiency and benefit end-users, machine builders and distributors alike. The company is the first in the interlocking sector to implement end coding, which allows standard products to be coded at the final, rather than initial, stage of production.
End coding enables the company's interlocks to be fitted uncoded to machinery and remain there until they are commissioned. The coding scheme can be changed right up until commissioning is accepted, when an authorised coding engineer codes the system. As a result, standard products can now be held as stock with distributors and machine builders, speeding up the supply chain.
The system relies on a coded tablet that is inserted into the lock. Once inserted, the tablet cannot be removed or recoded, which guarantees the integrity and safety of the system. Tablets can be provided within 24 hours of being defined and requested.
Since trapped key interlocks were first designed, the production of any system could not start until each code within the system had been defined. This created a number of potential issues. There was no flexibility during the commissioning phase for alterations once the locks had been fitted. Similarly, since each unit had been individually coded at the start of the manufacturing process, replacement stock required a full set of duplicates to be kept as spares. Machine builders could not stock items and orders could only be placed once end-users had confirmed codes. The product was not readily available as a stock item either at distribution outlets or from the manufacturer. Essentially, each component was a special and as such came with an extended lead time, no matter how frequently that product was used.
Keith Allingham, Castell's operations director, has welcomed the company's switch to end coding: "This major innovation will benefit all of our customers and give them the flexibility to ensure their system operates correctly pre-commissioning. This will both speed up commissioning times and deliver maximum system integrity – major advantages for all projects."